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My favorite quote from the article:

In the real world, if you build a bookshelf and forget to tighten one of the screws all the way, it does not burn down your house




Walter Maner - "UNIQUE ETHICAL PROBLEMS IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY" - http://www.cs.bgsu.edu/maner/ethicomp95/keynote3-THE.html#He...

"In a stimulating paper "On the Cruelty of Really Teaching Computer Science,"[35]Edsger Dijkstra examines the implications of one central, controlling assumption: that computers are radically novel in the history of the world. Given this assumption, it follows that programming these unique machines will be radically different from other practical intellectual activities. This, Dijkstra believes, is because the assumption of continuity we make about the behavior of most materials and artifacts does not hold for computer systems. For most things, small changes lead to small effects, larger changes to proportionately larger effects. If I nudge the accelerator pedal a little closer to the floor, the vehicle moves a little faster. If I press the pedal hard to the floor, it moves a lot faster. As machines go, computers are very different.

A program is, as a mechanism, totally different from all the familiar analogue devices we grew up with. Like all digitally encoded information, it has, unavoidably, the uncomfortable property that the smallest possible perturbations -- i.e., changes of a single bit -- can have the most drastic consequences.[36]"


In fact, that is one of the key tenets behind modern cryptography!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avalanche_effect


Closely followed by:

As a programmer, my core strengths have always been knowing how to apologize to users, and composing funny tweets.

Great article, OP. I laughed and learned.




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